Our Great Salvation

Our Great Salvation

As I was putting the blog together last week, I noted that Galatians 4:4-7 had more going on in it than just talking about our adoption and the privileges that we have because of it. This week, I thought I would look at another of the aspects. It stood out to me as I read the passage.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent his Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

What was so shocking to me? Well, it was something that I hadn't given much thought in this particular passage. Paul highlights in this Galatians passage the Trinitarian nature of our adoption. What do I mean by this? In this portion of Scripture Paul lays out the fact that our adoption involves all three members of the Godhead.

So who exactly does the adopting? I would argue the answer to that question is "yes." Galatians and other passages on adoption (Rom. 8 and Eph. 1) are clear that Christians are adopted sons of the Father. So there is a sense in which economically (or in the way that salvation plays itself out in history), the Father is the one who adopts us. Yet, what we know and confess to be true is that the Triune God of the Bible is not made up of parts. Thus, we cannot break up the Father, Son, and Spirit into three parts of God. What one person of God does, all the persons of God do. That means, there is a sense in which at the ontological level (that is at the level of who God is in himself), all three members of the Godhead adopt us as sons. This is one of those theological truths that hurts my head. Where one member of the Trinity is, all the members of the Trinity are. What one member does, all the members do.

Yet at the redemptive historical level each member has its own unique role. Thus, what Paul gets at here in Galatians is that the Father adopts us to be his sons. However, this is only made possible because the true Son, Christ, comes and is our redemption. He stands in our place and gives us right to be sons. All of this is made possible through the work of the Spirit. God's Spirit is placed in us, so that we can call out to the Lord. That is the Holy Spirit works our regeneration, so that we are can cry out to God, "Abba, Father!" Yet, in all of this we cannot atomize it to the point of not seeing all three members involved in every step of this.

As if this is not enough, here is the part that blows my mind. Not only is the entire Triune God involved in our salvation from beginning to end, but our salvation and our lives are caught up in the Trinitarian life. The Spirit dwells in our hearts. That means that God dwells in us. The same God that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us. We are not talking about a part of God dwelling in us (because God cannot be broken up into parts), but God, the God who spoke the world into existence, the Spirit that hovered over the waters in Genesis 1, dwells in the Christian.

Our salvation, our adoption is awe inspiring. The Father has adopted us because of the work of the Son and the Spirit applies that work. In all of this, we are caught up into the Trinitarian life, into a story much bigger than our own. How can this not cause you to break out in singing praises to our God?

Children of the Living God, Come and sing, Sing out loud!
Children of the Living God, Sing to the Living God!
Sing of the wonders He has made, Bird in flight, Falling rain.
Sing of the wonders He has made, Sing to the Living God!

How He loves us with great love, He who sits enthroned above.
For our lives He spilled His blood, Sent His Spirit like a flood.
Children of the Living God, Sing to the Living God!

Sing of His gentle healing hands, How they found the lowliest man.
Sing of His gentle healing hands, Sing to the Living God!

Sing of the mercy that He gives, though we sin, He forgives.
Sing of the mercy that He gives, Sing to the Living God!

Sing for the morning when He comes in the clouds, Glorious Son!
Sing for the morning when He comes, Sing to the Living God!

—Fernando Ortega "Children of the Living God"

 

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